Good gesture gone ugly: Kibra food donation drive turns chaotic

An aid donation drive in Kibra today turned ugly with scenes of hundreds huddled outside the former District Commissioner’s office to receive foodstuff, despite the government’s ban on public gatherings.

This, casting doubt on the purpose of such drives which are aimed at helping the most vulnerable in society yet exposing them to risk.

Many of those who thronged the premises could be seen without any protective face masks, which is in contravention to the government’s directive on wearing face masks in public places.

Also disregarded was the physical distancing guidelines fronted by the government and the World Health Organisation as an effective measure of containing the spread of Covid-19.

Police were forced to use teargas to disperse a surging crowd at the gates, who returned as soon as the smoke died off.

The residents, however, blamed the authorities for what they termed ‘poor planning’ in the distribution of the said aid. Some who spoke to Standard Digital said that their respective details had been collected at the grounds and were informed that the drive would have been an orderly affair.

“They asked for our names and said that they would distribute the food to our doorsteps,” said Rael Awinja, a Kibra resident.

“I have been out of a job since January. How do you tell a starving Kenyan to observe social distancing? Did they bring this aid to kill us?” she asked.

“This is wrong. They should have brought this food to our local chiefs so as to avoid this crowd. They are risking our lives,” said James Mutahi, also a resident.

Earlier, a similar drive-by Kesses Member of Parliament Swarup Mishra was the subject of blame after crowds gathered to receive food donations.

In the past week, several other persons have also conducted similar donations whose scenes have been synonymous with those witnessed in Kibra today.

The government has insisted on social distancing and has issued other directives aimed at curbing the fast spread of the coronavirus, such as enforcing a curfew and limiting the number of passengers in public transport vehicles.